29 November 2019 - 10:53
News ID: 447800
A
Recently ousted US Navy secretary Richard Spencer has slammed President Donald Trump for preventing the punishment and demotion of a Navy special operations soldier convicted of war crimes, calling the president's actions "shocking and unprecedented.”

RNA - The extraordinary accusation came in an opinion piece published on The Washington Post’s website Wednesday, three days after he was fired

Spencer said Trump’s intervention in the case of Navy Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher demonstrates that the commander in chief “has very little understanding” of how the American military works.

"It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices," he wrote.

Spencer was fired Sunday by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper for working a private deal with the White House to ensure that Gallagher be allowed to retire without losing his SEAL status.

In his op-ed, Spencer acknowledged his mistake, but also asserted that Trump’s actions were detrimental to the military.

Spencer said Trump had involved himself in the Gallagher case “almost from the start,” by telephoning Spencer even before the SEAL’s court martial started to ask that Gallagher be moved out of confinement at a Navy brig.

Spencer said he resisted Trump because the presiding judge had decided that confinement was important. Nonetheless, Trump ordered Spencer to transfer Gallagher from the brig to the equivalent of an enlisted barracks.

Spencer said he believes Trump’s interest in the case stemmed partly from the way Gallagher’s defense lawyers and others “worked to keep it front and center in the media.”

A US military jury in July convicted Gallagher, 40, of illegally posing for pictures with the corpse of a Daesh (ISIS) detainee while deployed to Iraq in 2017 but acquitted him of murder in the prisoner’s death.

Gallagher was also charged with "nearly a dozen" lesser offenses. He was sentenced to a demotion in rank and pay, but not prison time.

According to Press TV, Trump last Friday restored Gallagher’s rank and pay, allowing him to retire on a full pension, while pardoning two US Army officers who were separately accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.

Critics said Trump’s actions undermined military justice and sent a message that battlefield atrocities would be tolerated.

Gallagher has insisted that the accusations against him were fabricated by disgruntled, inexperienced subordinates who objected to his leadership style and tactics.

Trump's exoneration of soldiers accused of war crimes has sent a disturbing message to the world, Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said last week.

Colville said the international body was very concerned about the pardons given by Trump, which were "serious violations" of international law. 

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Tags: Trump US Navy
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